By Betty Murray
Trouble sleeping? Perhaps it’s time to shift your thoughts from the foods and drinks that are thought to help promote sleep, and focus on steering clear of the foods and drinks that may be the reason you can’t sleep.
A lack of sleep and too much sleep can lead to weight gain. When we are sleep deprived, we are more likely to eat larger portions. Researchers at Harvard University found that adults who got fewer than six hours of sleep a night, or more than eight hours of sleep gained more weight than those who slept between six and eight hours each night.
Getting the right amount of sleep won’t only improve your function during the day, clearing a foggy mind and giving you more energy, it will also help keep you lean.
If sleep is hard to come by, take a look at these foods and drinks that may be the cause of your sleeplessness.
Coffee. We all know that drinking caffeinated coffee at night is a bad idea, but did you know that even the coffee you drink in the early afternoon could be keeping you up at night? If you’re a coffee drinker, try to keep your espresso consumption to the morning hours, and avoid that mid-afternoon run to Starbucks.
Chocolate. Specifically, dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is another source of caffeine, and while a bite or two probably won’t keep you up at night, enjoying a full bar of chocolate before bed can certainly affect your ability to get a good night’s rest.
Alcohol. It may help you fall asleep initially, but alcohol can interrupt the later stages of sleep. If the second half of your sleep each night is restless and full of strange dreams, you won’t wake up feeling rested.
Celery. Yes, celery. This veggie is a natural diuretic. Unless you want your sleep to be interrupted with the need to use the restroom, skip the celery late at night.
Pasta. Pasta isn’t only high in carbs, which will setting into your waistline while you sleep, it’s also got a high glycemic index, which may spike your blood sugar leaving you wide awake when you’d rather be sleeping.
For more foods to avoid before bedtime, check out this Fox News article.
If you need a little snack at night, try one of these sleep-enhancing foods instead:
Bananas – Bananas are packed with potassium and magnesium, which are two nutrients that also work as muscle relaxants. Bananas also include the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan, which turns into serotonin and melatonin in the brain.
Protein – Foods that are high in protein promote sleep and fight acid reflux, which causes heartburn and keeps many people up at night.
Almonds – A perfect mix of protein and magnesium, promoting sleep and muscle relaxation.
Calcium – Calcium regulates the production of melatonin, so calcium-rich foods will help promote sleep.
Cherries – One of the only natural sources of melatonin.
Tea – Tea is soothing and relaxing, encouraging drowsiness. Green tea contains theanine, which also helps to promote sleep.
Oatmeal – A rich source of several sleep-promoting nutrients, including: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and potassium.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.